A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

October 19, 2021
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News from DESE Student Assessment Services

For All Schools

1. 20212022 Statewide Testing Schedule and Administration Deadlines
We are pleased to release a detailed MCAS testing schedule for the 2021–2022 school year, including registration dates and administration deadlines, as well as the ACCESS for ELLs testing schedule and the submission deadline for the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt). Testing dates have not changed since they were posted on August 9; this version of the schedule includes test administration deadlines as well as recommended testing times. Districts and schools should review the schedule and contact with any questions.
2. Translations of MCAS Parent/Guardian Reports and Letters to Parents/Guardians
DESE will soon have additional translations of the Parent/Guardian reports available on the DESE website. The additional languages that will be available are Hindi, Twi, Telugu, Albanian, and Tamil.
Translations of the Spring 2021 MCAS Letter to Parents and Guardians and the Letter to Parents and Guardians of Students in the Class of 2023 will also be available soon in the following languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole (Haitian), Arabic, Crioulo, Vietnamese, Russian, Khmer, French, Hindi, Twi, Telugu, Albanian, and Tamil. When available, they will be posted here on the DESE website.
3. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Parent/Guardian Reports Delivered to Districts and Now Available in PearsonAccess Next
On September 30, Parent/Guardian Reports were delivered to district offices and made available electronically in PearsonAccess Next (PAN). As a reminder, districts received one paper copy of the Parent/Guardian Report; electronic versions are available at the school level to users with the MCAS test coordinator role or the Published Reports role. Please see the previous update for further information. 

b. ACCESS for ELLs Progress Indicators and Future Targets for EL Students
Student-level 2021 ACCESS for ELLs electronic results are now available in the Security Portal in DropBox. Files will be made available in Edwin next week. In DropBox, the file is labeled ACCESS2021_student_level_R1_and_R2_; in Edwin, the report will be titled EL627 — ACCESS for ELLs Student Roster. Also next week, school- and district-level information will be available using the Edwin report titled EL327 — ACCESS for ELLs Student Roster. Please see the previous update for further information.
For High Schools

1. Manuals for November Retests Now Available
We are pleased to announce that the test administration manuals are now available for the next-generation and legacy November retests (note that there are different manuals for the different formats of the tests). Schools will receive shipments of paper copies on November 1. Each school receives one copy of the Principal's Administration Manual, and one copy of each Test Administrator’s Manual for every 15 students, based on registration in the Student Registration/Personal Needs Profile (SR/PNP).
PDFs of excerpts from each manual are also available now, including scripts for all test sessions, that can be printed along with the Test Security Requirements as an alternative to printing an entire TAM for each test administrator. In addition, schools may find that excerpts of the PAM are useful to share with staff for easy reference, including:
  • checklist of tasks to complete for testing
  • test security requirements
  • accessibility and accommodations (to share with IEP/504 teams and others)
  • procedures related to student information and guidance on reporting (to share with data staff and others)
Principals should review the test security requirements and contact the Department’s Office of Student Assessment Services with any questions.
2. Update on Eligibility Guidelines for the November 2021 MCAS Retests for Adams Scholarship
In recognition of 2021 being a disrupted school year, DESE is permitting students currently in grades 11 and 12 to participate in the November 2021 MCAS retests for scholarship purposes. Previous eligibility guidance stated that only students who had a medically documented absence in grade 10 would be eligible to take a retest for scholarship purposes. Refer to the participation guidelines for details. This information supersedes the September 1 Student Assessment Update and the information in the Principal’s Administration Manuals for the November retests.  
3. MCAS Interim Passing Standard for CD Extended
At its September meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to extend the interim passing standard for the MCAS competency determination (CD) currently in place for students in the class of 2023 for two additional years, to students in the classes of 2024 and 2025 in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering (STE). The interim passing standard for next generation STE tests in Biology and Introductory Physics will be set in summer 2022, after the spring 2022 administration in those subjects; Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests remain legacy in spring 2022. See for information about the transition to next generation tests in STE.
The CD requirement for the interim standard is not based on students' next generation achievement level, but rather on the scaled score that corresponds to the appropriate legacy-equivalent achievement level–Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, Failing. Although the next generation tests are on a different scale than the legacy tests, the interim standard ensures that the knowledge and skills required to pass MCAS are the same on both tests.
The tables below illustrate the next generation CD requirements for the classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025. Additional information about graduation requirements is available on the DESE website. For staff with access to Edwin Analytics, located on the Security Portal, the Student CD Roster (PE618) and Assessment History Summary (PE613) report students' CD status using the interim passing standard.
Table with the English Language Arts Interim CD Standard.  NextGen Scaled Score Range, NextGen Achievement Level, Legacy-equivalent Achievement Level and Scaled Score Range, CD status code, CD status. 440 – 454, Not Meeting Expectations, Failing (200-218), 0, Did not pass. 455 – 469, Not Meeting Expectations, Needs Improvement (220-238), 1, Passed, requires EPP. 470 – 471, Partially Meeting Expectations, 472 – 499, Partially Meeting Expectations, Proficient (240-258), 2, Passed. 500, Meeting Expectations, 501 – 529, Meeting Expectations, Advanced (260-280), 2, Passed.
Table with the Mathematics Interim CD Standard.  NextGen Scaled Score Range, NextGen Achievement Level, Legacy-equivalent Achievement Level and Scaled Score Range, CD status code, CD status. 440 – 468, Not Meeting Expectations, Failing (200-218), 0, Did not pass. 469, Not Meeting Expectations, 470 – 485, Partially Meeting Expectations, Needs Improvement (220-238), 1, Passed, requires EPP. 486 – 499, Partially Meeting Expectations, 500 – 503, Meeting Expectations, Proficient (240-258), 2, Passed. 504 – 529, Meeting Expectations, Advanced (260-280),  2, Passed.
4. Technology Preparations for Next-Generation November 2021 Retests
At this time, we would like to remind principals to meet with their technology coordinators and complete the technology preparations listed on pages 41–42 in Part IV, section B, step 1, of the Principal's Administration Manual. Additional preparations are described below.

Schools are also encouraged to review the 2021–22 technology specifications with their technology coordinator to confirm that their school’s devices can be used for November 2021 MCAS computer-based testing.

a. Special Instructions for Schools Using Tablets
If your school is using iPads or tablets, it is important to meet with technology staff to determine whether wired keyboards will be needed. Presentation issues that arise on iPads and other tablets during testing include test content “jumping” when the internal keyboard appears and having less space to view the prompt while writing an essay. The Department recommends using a wired, external keyboard for testing to help mitigate these issues. If wired keyboards will be used, students should be given the opportunity to practice using them during practice tests.

b. Chrome OS Updates
Schools that are considering updating the operating systems on their testing devices should first confirm that the update is supported by TestNav. Schools are encouraged to run an Infrastructure Trial after an operating system update to ensure that TestNav will continue to operate smoothly with the update applied.

c. Reminder to Complete an Infrastructure Trial for Computer-Based Testing
The Department recommends that schools conduct an Infrastructure Trial as described in the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide prior to actual testing to confirm that the network is functioning as expected and that students and staff are familiar with testing procedures. 

Prior to conducting an Infrastructure Trial, schools should review the ProctorCache Recommendation for 2021Best Practices for MCAS Computer-Based Testing, and the Infrastructure Trial Readiness Guide. As a reminder, to prepare for the Infrastructure Trial, schools should use the brown PAN training site, which is separate from the blue PAN site used for actual test administration. Schools are also encouraged to set up a call with Pearson’s Technology Support Specialists for help setting up or debriefing the Infrastructure Trial.

5. Reminders from the Previous Update
a. Modified CD Data for Round 7 Available for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 in DropBoxes
The results from round 7 of the modified Competency Determination (CD) data are now posted in the MCAS 2021 Data DropBoxes. This round included students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 who were eligible for the modified CD in ELA, Mathematics, and STE. If you have any questions about the results or the modified CD process, please contact the Data Analysis and Reporting Office at Please see the previous update for further details.

b. High School Science MCAS Update
i. February 2022 Biology Administration Eligibility
Students in the class of 2024 who completed a high school biology course last year in 2020–21 are eligible and should be provided the opportunity to take the February 2022 Biology test. The February Biology test will be a legacy, paper-based test. Please see the previous update for further information.
ii. June 2022 STE Tests
Four high school STE tests will be offered in June 2022: Biology, Introductory Physics, Chemistry, and Technology Engineering. Eligibility for each test is available on the Transition Information page. The Biology and Introductory Physics tests will be next-generation, computer-based tests aligned to the 2016 STE standards. The Chemistry and Technology/Engineering tests will be legacy, paper-based tests aligned to the 2006 STE standards. Please see the previous update for further information.
iii. STE Requirements for the CD for the Classes of 2020–2023
As a reminder, due to the COVID-19 school closures in spring 2020, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted that the STE component of the CD for students in the classes of 2020–2023 will be awarded upon demonstration of course credit in the relevant subject matter and competency in one of the four tested disciplines during their high school career. More information can be found on the Graduation Requirements and Related Guidance web page.

c. PearsonAccess Next Passwords and Accounts: Confirm Accounts at This Time
School and district staff who had access to PAN during the previous school year should sign in to PAN to make sure their accounts are still active. If you are able to sign in to your account successfully, no further action is needed at this time. Staff with accounts that were disabled will receive an error message upon sign-in; resetting the password will enable the account. Please contact the MCAS Service Center with any questions, and see the previous update for further information. 

d. Availability of TestNav; Requests to Test Outside Regular Hours
To maintain the security of the testing system during the November 2021 retests, TestNav will be available only during the test administration windows, and open between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday–Friday on those days. To request permission to conduct testing outside the hours given above (e.g., an evening high school that would like to begin testing after 4:00 p.m.), the principal must email by October 26. Please see the previous update for further information.  

e. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Letters
PDF versions of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship letters are now posted on the MCAS Service Center. Paper copies are scheduled for delivery to district offices on October 22. Please see the previous update for further information. 

f. New Operational Report: Students with Multiple Tests of the Same Subject Area
Schools are encouraged to run the new operational report titled “Students with Multiple Tests of the Same Subject Area” to confirm that students are only assigned to one format (next-generation for ELA and Mathematics, or legacy for ELA and Mathematics). This report is available in PAN under Reports > Operational Reports > Students and Registrations. Please see additional information in the previous update.  

Other Important Dates

Table with Category, Date(s), and Item. November Retest Administration. September 27–October 29, Infrastructure Trial Window. October 4–November 8, Extended pre-administration SR/PNP window for CBT. November 1, Schools receive all manuals and PBT materials for Mathematics. November 2, (NG only) Precache operational test content for Nov. 2021 retests (optional; see recommendations on precaching.) Operational test content will be available for precaching on November 2, but schools should not precache until one week prior to the start of the testing window for each subject area. Math: November 1–5, ELA: November 8–12, If necessary, order additional manuals and PBT materials for accommodations, and report packing discrepancies for PBT shipments. November 8, Schools receive PBT materials for ELA.
Additional Resources
MCAS Service Center
for logistical support, including tech support for PearsonAccess Next and TestNav

Phone: 800-737-5103
Student Assessment Services
for policy questions, including student participation

Phone: 781-338-3625
Schedule a Call with Technology Support Specialists
available prior to test administration
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